Virgin Money

October 12, 2012 06:27 ET

A Guide to New Zealand's Best Festivals

LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM--(Marketwire - Oct. 12, 2012) - Culture is important in New Zealand and plays an integral part in the lives of so many Kiwis. From their Maori heritage to their home-grown music scene, the average New Zealander will hold a variety of cultural elements close to their heart. It's what makes them tick, so it's no surprise to learn they celebrate them at every opportunity.

If you're thinking of beginning a backpacking adventure with a trip to New Zealand, take a look at this guide to the country's best festivals, bought to you by Virgin Money Travel Insurance.

Rippon festival, Wanaka

Held in the height of summer in February, Rippon is arguably one of the most picturesque music festivals held in the Southern hemisphere. Situated high in the vineyards of Wanaka, festival goers will be treated to the sight of the bright blue lake and snow-capped mountains. What's more the music's pretty good too. As a champion of home-grown talent the line-up is all Kiwi, with Wellington seven piece, Fat Freddy's Drop known to make an appearance. Great music and a great setting. It could only be New Zealand.

Pasifika festival, Auckland

It isn't just the Maori culture which influences the daily lives of the residents of New Zealand The close proximity to the rest of the Polynesian Islands means large cities like Auckland in the North Island experience a real mix of cultures. This melting pot of cultures are celebrated in early March during the Pasifika festival. Each year this event champions the art, food, music, lifestyle and culture of Polynesia. As a visitor to Auckland, this is one not to be missed.

Queenstown Winter Festival

Winter fest kicks off the snow sport season in Queenstown. This stunning lakeside retreat suddenly becomes invaded with those looking for some fun on the slopes. But it's not just the winter sports which are celebrated. Everything is done in unique Kiwi style, from the music, to the fireworks and especially the random daily events. These include dog barking, birdman competitions, suitcases races down the slopes, and the odd jazz night.

International Film Festival

This nationwide event showcases the best in film talent that New Zealand has to offer. Despite not always hitting our shores, the New Zealand film industry is an important part of Kiwi culture. Titles such as Once Were Warriors and Boy came from these shores, but each year more and more budding filmmakers get the chance to show their talent. Initially starting in Auckland, this annual event has spread to all of the other cities across both islands throughout July.

So, it's time to get planning your trip. But don't forget your visa, your backpack, and of course your backpacker travel insurance from Virgin Money.

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